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Re: Curriculum question "Facing History and Ourselves"

At 6:22 AM -0500 2/6/02, Rick Parkany wrote:
Thank you for the disquisition, Victor...

...To this extent: none of us are innocent WHEN these occult POLITICAL forces
effect their subaltern realities in violence and oppression. YES, yes, the
poor are the MOST impressionable, but it takes the validation of power in
order to wring these evils from the hearts of the public. It is our civic duty
to identify these channeling forces of evil out them, and get beyond the dire
consequences of our deeper political sleeps and escapes... ;-} rap.

Mob mentality needs no validation from above and one need not be poor
to follow someone else's demagoguery. In this sense, the "human
condition" crosses all boundaries of income, heritage and status.
Post-Rodney-King LA riots certainly did not have any validation of
power, yet they were based on hate more than on injustice. KKK
members come from all strata of society--there is no checkbox on the
application form to move someone into a leadership position if he
comes from wealthier surroundings, and the majority of membership is
poor. One might be able to afford to do more and thus rise higher,
but that's a different issue--the same is true about any political
entity as well.

Also look at the case of anti-Semitism in the post-war Poland. It was
not the official Government policy that drove the majority of the
countryside and the workers to hate the Jews. Instead, it was a
combination of history and looking for a scapegoat. Many
Poles--educated or not, as the level of education used to be the main
class distinction next to belonging to the Communist Party--believed
that Jews ran the Communist government. When Communist era ended, the
same Poles believed that it was the Jews who ran the post-Communist
government and ran the economy into the ground, based, in part, on
the fact that one minister was rumored to be Jewish (his name was
always used as evidence every time "proof" was needed that Jews were
in charge). Class distinctions in bigotry are absolute nonsense. The
irony is that if you asked an average Pole if he hated the Jews, he
would deny it, also denying at the same time that Poles contributed
to the destruction of the Jews during WWII.

Hatred is not a class-based issue. My roommate at one point was a
Chilean Communist who often sounded like a fundamentalist Christian
preacher when talking about Jews and homosexuals. He was a math
graduate student, originally from a poor background, not a scion of a
rich family in a leadership position. He toned down the rabid
anti-Semitism when he learned that I was Jewish--quite possibly I was
the first Jew that he knew to have encountered, even though he had
probably met many more Jews prior to that without knowing.

In this particular case, ignorance was what bred the hatred and
contempt, but in Germany and Poland before WWII this was quite
different--it was the familiarity that fueled it, but the condition
was completely pathological and requires no explanation, particularly
not a silly class-based one.


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